Marchantia Polymorpha: Up Close and Personal
Anna Nova Gallery presents a solo exhibition by Anastasia Potemkina, participant of the Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, founder and participant of Urban Fauna Laboratory, and 2019 laureate of the ArtInStyle award established by InStyle Russia and the international Cosmoscow contemporary art fair. Anna Nova has been collaborating with the artist since 2014. The project “A Few Words About Civility” that was organized by the gallery as part of the Manifesta 10 program was nominated for the Kandinsky Prize in 2015.
“Marchantia Polymorpha: Up Close and Personal” is Anastasia Potemkina's first show inside the Anna Nova Gallery space. The artist’s new project continues the exploration that she initiated in the Urban Fauna Laboratory. Once again she turns to the plant kingdom and demonstrates the potential of a brave new non-anthropocentric world. In this project, the main characters are plants that have healing properties and that functioned as communicators between different worlds in certain traditional cultures. The artist previously used the project “Bad Seed Renaissance” (performance, 2016) to talk about a new civilization where people exist in a state of mutually beneficial communication with wild flora. Her new exhibition likewise focuses on communication between species.
The name of the project refers to the moss Marchantia Polymorpha, the central image in a huge semi-abstract photo mural. The ornamentation in the image both endows the plant with psychedelic characteristics and reflects the complexity of its structure, making it clear that this other creature is on equal terms with a human being and capable of communicating with us. The exhibition also features videos from “Bad Seed Renaissance” and engraved glass objects.
Many plants have specific chemical combinations, which if used properly, can grant you an opportunity of cross-modal shift of sensations. Video from the project “Bad Seed Renaissance” demonstrate extatic tactic communication, participated by plants, in particular. This is a ritual of a new non-anthropocentric state in progress, which can result in interspecies networking by means of deriving physical pleasure. The issue of looking for further alternative communication options is extended in the video performance that Anastasia made together with Ekaterina Shelganova. In their project, a human is featured as a part of a natural landscape – on a par with trees, bushes, and moss. Video demonstrates long walks through the forest from three different perspectives, which spectators can see all at once thanks to the three-channel video installation. This facilitates the audience to go beyond the limits of customary perception of reality.
The works come together in a single total installation, telling a story about a possible utopia and also showing us how to achieve it, or at least how to approach it.
Anastasia Potemkina: “As an artist, I'm interested in marginalized communities. At first I examined marginal groups in human societies, but now I find them among other species. The point of creating an interspecies language is to include marginalized beings in communication. Interaction should not be limited by an anthropocentric system — in a democratic sense, communication should involve representatives of different biological kingdoms”.